Childcare centers address food allergies of ethnically diverse population

Attention to children's food allergies at childcare centers can be a life-or-death issue. As these centers wrestle with the problem, some also have unique needs to address, such as an ethnically diverse child population.

At Michigan Technological University, for example, staff at the Little Huskies Child Development Center must account for various ethnic cuisine while adhering to strict standards, such as separate tables, labeling of foods and acceptable disposal of leftovers.

"We have food allergy policies and a plan to guide staff through emergencies," says director Eva Hatfield. "In addition to the national 'nut-free' policy, we must be vigilant about other foods and their possible problems. Also, parents of allergic children must meet with the cook, teachers, and me, to discuss allergy, menu, and mealtime routines."

In addition, all Little Huskies teachers receive anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) training when they start work and annually. And emergency procedures such as how to administer antidotes are also in place.

The on-campus facility is used by children of Michigan Tech staff, faculty, graduate students and the community. The center was recently accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Enrollment can be as high as 44 children divided into infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The teachers number 12.

SOURCE Michigan Technological University

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